Building Positive Relationships

How often have you heard, “Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”? Every child is a unique individual; they are not one size fits all, and we cannot connect with them in that manner.  For the most part, teachers with high-quality relationships are aware of student needs, exhibit appropriate levels of guidance and cooperation and have fewer discipline problems. 

Great teachers focus not on compliance,
but on connections and relationships.

P.J. Caposey,
Educator & Author

Know your students, because you have the power to escalate or deescalate, hurt or heal, or make a student miserable or happy.

Build a positive relationship with each student so they can feel a connection with you, the teacher.  Be authentic – students can see right through you.

Consider ways to build positive relationships:

Create a Self-Esteem Bulletin – Each student identifies him/herself,
what they like, lists qualities about themself, what makes them unique, etc.

Share appropriate personal experiences to model positive behaviors

Have an affirming attitude, be flexible and maintain a sense of humor

Make small talk when appropriate

Support your student’s activities, when possible

Post upbeat quotes that inspire students

Allow students to help create a classroom environment that is meaningful to them

Play the 2 Truths and a Lie Game to foster inclusion

Co-construct a Getting to Know You puzzle. Give each student a puzzle piece; allow them to personalize their piece with facts and/or pictures of themselves; then put the puzzle pieces together and display.

It is the little gestures and conversations that build positive, sustainable relationships and make an impact on each student. Look beyond the behavior and meet your students where they are. Build that relationship and connect – students are not trying to push your button! This is not about you.

Dr. Carri Pillers
Tools for Life Certified Lead Trainer
Madison MS


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